Free energy profile of the interaction between a monomer or a dimer of protegrin-1 in a specific binding orientation and a model lipid bilayer

Victor Vivcharuk, Yiannis Kaznessis

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24 Scopus citations


The free energies of adsorption of the monomer or dimer of the cationic β-hairpin antimicrobial peptide protegrin-1 (PG1) in a specific binding orientation on a lipid bilayer are determined using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and Poisson-Boltzmann calculations. The bilayer is composed of anionic palmitoyl-oleoylphosphatidylglycerol (POPG) andpalmitoyl-oleoyl- phosphatidylethanolamine (POPE) with ratio 1:3 (POPG/ POPE). PG1 is believed to kill bacteria by binding on their membranes. There, it forms pores that lyse the bacteria. Herein we focus on the thermodynamics of binding. In particular, we explore the role of counterion release from the lipid bilayer upon adsorption of either the monomelic or the dimeric form of PG1. Twentytwo 4-ns-long MD trajectories of equilibrated systems are generated to determine the free energy profiles for the monomer and dimer as a function of the distance between the peptide(s) and the membrane surface. The MD simulations are conducted at 11 different separations from the membrane for each of the two systems, one with PG1, the second with a PG1 dimer of only a specific orientation of the monomer and dimer without taking into account the change of entropy for the peptide. To calculate the potential of mean force for each peptide/membrane system, a variant of constrained MD and thermodynamic integration is used. We observed that PG1 dimer binds more favorably to the POPG/POPE membrane. A simple method for relating the free energy profile to the PG1-membrane binding constant is employed to predict a free energy of adsorption of -2.4 ± 0.8 kcal/mol. A corresponding PG1-dimer-membrane binding constant is calculated as -3.5 ± 1.1 kcal/mol. Free energy profiles from MD simulation were extensively analyzed and compared with results of Poisson-Boltzmann theory. We find the peptide-membrane attraction to be dominated by the entropy increase due to the release of counterions in a POPG/POPE lipid bilayer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2790-2797
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 4 2010


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